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The power of LGBT votes in Malaysia

April 9, 2012

FMT LETTER: From Pang Khee Teik, via e-mail

Around the world, LGBTs represent around 3 to 10 % of the population. Malaysian homo sapiens are not more homo. So it is certainly not 30 % here as recently claimed by a counsellor in Utusan.

This counsellor said his data is solid because he heard it from his gay clients who are being cured of gayness by him. This is what happens when people have a simplistic understanding about the world. This is how our education has failed us.

The Ministry of Education is not the only institution that has failed us. All other Ministries, either in promoting discrimination and misunderstanding of LGBTs or keeping silent when we are discriminated, have also failed us.

But the country has not only failed the LGBTs. It has failed all minorities. This government has only been manipulating and pandering to the majority because it is interested in their votes. This is where they are wrong.

The upcoming General Elections will be a close fight. In many constituencies, the difference between the winning candidate and the losing candidate will be about 3 to 10 % of the votes, the same percentage of LGBTs in society.

LGBT voters therefore make up that difference between winning and losing. With the majority split half and half to either coalition, the fates of this election lies in the fabulous hands of the minorities.

Whether we are out and proud LGBTs or we are in the closet or we are friends and families of LGBTs, we must vote the candidate most likely to create a better future for everyone, minorities and all.

So all you MP wannabes who want our votes?

1 Be nice to us.

2 We don’t need special treatment. We don’t need to be cured. We are fine as we are. We just want equality. Treat us all with respect.

3 We are a peaceful people. We want to make peace with ourselves. We want to make peace with others. Yet many are fighting us. We are not surprised. It is because they are ignorant about us, they misunderstand us. Your task is not to take sides, not to censor, not to ban. Your task is to facilitate peace making. And understanding leads to peace.

4 Give us space to be who we are and to promote our rights. We want to fully participate in society. We are tired of simply existing in the shadows where it becomes easy for others to mistreat us. We want to help make Malaysia a better home for everyone.

5 Educate yourself about us. Talk to us. Hear our side.

6 Educate the public about us. Promote understanding. Give us space to talk about ourselves.

7 Stop saying stupid shit about us or other minorities.

8 Apologise for your party’s stupid shit. Call on your own members to apologise when they say stupid shit.

9 You don’t only represent the people who vote for you. You don’t represent the majority only. For the majority certainly doesn’t represent the minorities. You represent all.

10 Be nice to everyone, especially minorities. Malaysia is big enough for us all.

Seriously, we are watching you now. We have families and friends who care about us too. So don’t mess with us. We are the king and queen makers.

The writer is the co-founder of annual sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka. Though banned by the police on Nov 2011, Seksualiti Merdeka vows to keep fighting for the rights of LGBTs in Malaysia.


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